.5mm Screen Printed Pitches Case Study

A design engineer who was working on the development of a membrane switch keypad for a new medical device product approached JN White® for help in the design and development of a component that could be repeatedly manufactured.

JN White® developed a solution of screen-printing silver traces at a .5MM pitch. This type of trace manufacturing was an innovative and unique solution to the customer’s design requirements. In addition, the team added a number of other features like an embedded tri-color LED and a hidden button that was included in the design for future use. Due to the enormous success of the project, the team is currently working on another iteration for the customer that will include enhanced LED’s in order to provide a color bar on the component.

The Challenge

The customer needed a keypad with unique characteristics, including specific lighting requirements and an economical trace solution (versus copper flex). In order to perfectly encapsulate all of these tough and distinct aspects into the design, the client needed to work closely with the design and development team at JN White® to prototype the ideal component.

How JN White® Helped

The customer needed a keypad with unique characteristics. In order to meet these tough requirements, JN White® designed a custom keypad with the following:

  • Embedded Tri-Color LED for 3-color lighting
  • Traces screen-printed at .5MM pitch: Typically copperflex or a printed circuit board would be utilized for this size of traces, but the team at JN White® was able to produce in this fashion. Screen-printing is a much more cost-effective solution for this application. JN White® had to work with the customer to ensure that the internal electronics of the part could manage the increase in resistant with the use of the screen-printed versus the other solutions. An effective solution was developed.
  • Hidden Button: During development, the engineering team at JN White® worked with the customer to fully understand the hidden button feature and all of its future potential uses. While delving into the discovery process, the team recognized that there would be an additional 6th button in the next generation of the product. As a solution, and in order to limit the redesign of the electronics for the product, a “hidden” button was included in the design.

The Result

The final product was an innovative keypad with several exciting and interesting elements that met the customer’s specific requirements. These requirements included: screen-printed traces at a .5MM pitch, a hidden button available for use in next generation design, and an embedded tri-color LED. JN White® met all the customer’s requirements and went above and beyond in satisfying the client, accounting for future design needs by including the hidden button for the next generation project. In addition, in order to elevate this piece to the next level, a new project is currently in the works. This latest project will include altered LED’s, which will create a lighted bar effect.

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